Alabama players with huge chances for reps with guys out in spring
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The quarterback competition at the University of Alabama will be discussed throughout spring practice.
However, there are other position battles where players can see huge reps.
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Nick Saban documented injuries after Monday’s practice as a few players are recovering from surgeries. He said linebackers Dallas Turner and Deontae Lawson will be out for the entire spring. Roydell Williams and Devonta Smith will miss some time, but both are expected to return before spring practice ends. Robbie Ouzts, Justin Eboigbe, and Jah-Marien Latham will be limited to some of the things they can do in practice. All the guys listed should be at full strength by preseason camp.
Kendrick Blackshire and Jihaad Campbell have an opportunity as inside linebackers.
Blackshire, a former four-star, will get the first crack at impressing Saban and Kevin Steele. Alabama fans have been waiting for the native Texan from the 2021 recruiting class to emerge as an impactful player. Campbell, a former five-star, benefitted a lot from the reps he received in preparation for the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Kansas State. He brings immense potential as an all-around linebacker. Alabama has two transfers, Justin Jefferson and Trezmen Marshall, that look to become plug ‘n’ play starters. The Tide also has Shawn Murphy, Ian Jackson, and Qua Russaw (true freshman) that are ready to work. Blackshire’s time is now to prove himself with Lawson out. Campbell and others are prepared to take over if he cannot separate himself.
Alabama’s outside linebacker room is stacked with talent.
Chris Braswell, Quandarrius Robinson, Keanu Koht, and Jeremiah Alexander are returning players. Keon Keeley, a five-star freshman, signed in this recent recruiting class. Braswell is expected to replace the departed Will Anderson as a jack linebacker, but Turner’s absence opens room for the others to get reps at strong-side “SAM” linebacker.
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Alexander and Keeley have the most upside, but Robinson and Koht have more experience in the system.
It will be interesting to see the dynamic of Steele and Coleman Hutzler (OLB coach) put these guys in position to dominate.
As for running backs, Williams’ recovery time opens a chance for Jam Miller (formerly Jamarion Miller), Justice Haynes (freshman), and Richard Young (freshman) to impress coaches with reps. Miller caught the attention of Alabama fans in a couple of games last season. Haynes and Young are both five stars that possess unique skill sets in the backfield.
Smith’s time out in the secondary creates flexible depth. Alabama has a proven cornerback with Kool-Aid McKinstry, but who will play across from him? Terrion Arnold has the experience, but Earl Little II could show more promise at the position.
The Tide has Malachi Moore back as a veteran. It has to replace its two starting safeties, Jordan Battle and DeMarcco Hellams, but the Crimson Tide has the talent to do it. Travaris Robinson will be in charge of coaching cornerbacks and safeties this year.
Alabama fans want to see more players rotated in games, and this spring could see the rotation grow.
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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.